Valentina Cuzzocrea, Giuliana Mandich

While the children play: social relations and the emergence of discursive public spheres

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: third places, public sphere, children, everyday cultures, urban space.

This article discusses how some public spaces used to take children to play - such as gardens, parks or squares - may turn into third places in the everyday usage that adults make of them. We investigate how the presence of children shapes interactions among adults, fostering social exchanges, familiarity and sociability, and thus overcoming the dominant norm of civil disattention. In fact, while their frequentation is justified by children's play, they are also spaces where it is possible to establish the basis for a meaningful public sphere. Feeling at easy in a public space, sharing forms of sociability, exchanging views on one's own experience of being a parent, are all elements constituting specific everyday cultures, expressed through discursive repertoires and sustained by interiorised habitus. We argue for the need to study discursive public spheres by empirically investigating concrete social and cultural contexts. For this article, we have drawn on interview material and focus groups, both supported by the use of the visual and collected in the city of Cagliari.

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